GoPro HD Hero2 Camcorder Review
There's no manual control over exposure, aperture, shutter speed, or gain on the Hero2, so don't expect to be able to manipulate your recordings as such. The only thing you can do in terms of exposure is switch between center-weighted or spot exposure evaluation. As we discussed on our Ease of Use page, the Hero2 did well with exposure under even lighting, but it often overexposed areas of intense light under mixed-light environments. GoPro recommends switching to spot exposure if you want to avoid this in certain situations, like if you have the camcorder pointing out the window on the dashboard of a car, for example.
It's not quite the same amount of flexibility that you get with Contour's rotatable lens, but the GoPro Hero2 does have an image flip option that lets you mount the camcorder upside down if you need to. Just go into the settings and hit the image flip option and your video will be recorded right side up (even if the camcorder is upside down). This gives you a bit more flexibility when you're mounting the Hero2.
Like most ultracompact camcorders, the Hero2 has an NTSC/PAL output switch. So, if you're connecting the camcorder to a television overseas, you can switch to PAL output and the signal should playback fine.
Moving outdoors to brighter light, the camcorder acted quickly in adjusting exposure. There were moments of white flashes as the exposure changed, but the Hero2 compensated for the brighter light in less than a second. And, like we said, under consistent outdoor lighting the exposure levels looked great. Focus wasn't an issue due to the camcorder's fixed lens (no focal adjustments made), and we found subjects that were as close as a foot or so from the lens still appeared in focus.
The Hero2 isn't big on audio controls, but the camcorder does come with a built-in mono mic and a 3.5mm external mic jack. GoPro recommends using the open back door on the waterproof case if you want to capture better sound, as this allows the mic to pick up more audio (it does make the case no longer waterproof, though, so make sure not to submerged the camcorder in this setup).